MR. BEETRAM (Hertfordshire, Hitchin)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he has considered the expense which will be thrown upon the rates, particularly in agricultural and thinly populated counties, by the requirements of Regulation 1 of the regulations now under the consideration of the Board of Trade, which involve the annual visit of an inspector to the premises or place of trade of every trader, and the verification of all weights and measures in use for trade found at such premises or place; whether he has any official Reports showing that the present system of surprise visits does not afford a sufficient control of weights and measures; and, if not, on what ground the new and more stringent regulation is based; and whether the Board of Trade are advised that farmers are traders within the meaning of the Weights and Measures Acts.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
An annual visit to places where weights and measures are in use was already required by the model regulations drawn up by the Board of Trade under the Weights and Measures Act, 1889, and the present draft regulation under the Act of 1904 differs chiefly in empowering the Department to exempt districts where an annual visit would be inconvenient. The Question whether fanners are traders for the purposes of the Weights and Measures Acts can only be answered by a reference to the definition of 'trade' in Section 19 of the Act of 1878. As a general rule a farmer's dealings will no doubt come within that definition.
§ COLONEL LOCKWOOD
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, for instance, in a county like Hertfordshire this change will involve doubling the staff of inspectors, and add hundreds a year to the rates?
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
I think the right hon. Gentleman has been misinformed. The change will have a contrary tendency.